ROANOKE, Va. – Coffee is brewing once again at RND Coffee in Wasena.
Co-owner Quincy Randolph started RND last year with his brother. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they had to close for two months. Since RND reopened, the revival of the Black Lives Matter movement sparked new conversations and connections and interest in their business.
“We’ve had opportunities to connect with people who maybe hadn’t considered us beforehand,” said Randolph.
They participated in a worldwide bake sale to fight racism and sold a special coffee blend in July to benefit Dream Corps, a nonprofit aimed at criminal justice reform and equity. In his own business, Randolph hires an inclusive and diverse staff.
“Recognizing what I can do as an individual of a Black-owned business and just trying to lead by example,” said Randolph.
At Scoony’s Seafood downtown, owner Clarence Hilton is serving up his family’s recipe. The restaurant is a passion project for Hilton and his brother. Despite opening just before the pandemic hit, he said they stayed open for take-out and the support poured in.
“It means a lot,” said Hilton. “It’s being an example to generations who will come behind me, seeing that they can do anything that they want to do and, you know, seeing a person that looks like themselves, that’s always inspiring.”
Randolph said it’s great to see people supporting Black-owned businesses, but people should not just shop there once to check it off a list.
“Try it a few times. Find what you really like on the menu and then also like spread the word,” said Randolph. “For small businesses, especially kind of like minority-owned businesses, word of mouth is so powerful.”
Randolph said that change can start small.
“Approach businesses and Black-owned businesses, other minority-owned businesses, really just, you know, approach people with an open heart,” said Randolph.